Mandolinist Johnny Staats kicked up quite a stir with the release of his first album, Wires & Wood, back in 2000. It was released on Giant Records, a Warner Brothers imprint, with a heavy push to print and broadcast media. He was joined on the CD by newgrass luminaries like Sam Bush, Scott Vestal, Jerry Douglas, John Cowan, Jim Hurst and Tim O’Brien, on a set consisting primarily of Staats’ original music.
It was a strong and aggressive sound, but Giant had a brilliant publicity hook that served them well in getting Johnny into broadcast media in the form of his day job. Then, and now, he works as a UPS delivery driver, something as familiar to the average music lover as..
The story of the bluegrass singing, mandolin picking UPS man from West Virginia was irresistible, and he was featured in People magazine along with several appearances on network television news in the wake of the CD’s release. Staats toured widely as his scheduled allowed, but has more recently been releasing self-produced projects, several as duets with guitarist Robert Shafer.
More recently, Johnny has been recovering from some carpal tunnel issues, but is back with a new edition of his band, The Delivery Boys, and raring to. A new album has just been released, Time Moves On, which is available now from CD Baby. All the tracks save one are Staats compositions, with a more traditional bluegrass sound than some of his earlier music, though the blues influence is still apparent.
Touring and recording with him now are Roger Bissell on bass, Ray Cossin on fiddle, Butch Osborne on banjo, and David Vaughn on guitar.
Roger sent along a few audio samples earlier today to give everyone a flavor of the new band.